France-Italy diplomatic clash over Yellow Vests
President Emmanuel Macron’s government recalled France ambassador to Rome Christian Masset on February 7 in an unprecedented act since World War II , saying it had enough with “repeated, baseless” attacks by Italian political leaders against France.
Luigi di Maio, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement welcomed the “winds of change across the Alps” yesterday on Twitter after meeting with Yellow Vest activists Cristophe Chalencon and Ingrid Levavasseur.
The vise-president of the European Parliament Fabio Castaldo has also taken part in the meeting. (Pictured below: first from right).
In a statement on the decision, France’s foreign ministry blamed Italian officials of making “outrageous statements” and “repeated, baseless attacks” for months.
The statement said the attacks were without precedent since World War II. “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another,” it said.
“All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France,” diplomats added, making clear that Paris is increasingly worried by Di Maio and Salvini’s vocal support for the anti-establishments protest movement.
Ambassador Christian Masset (pictured above) arrived to Rome on 6 of December 2017. As a carreer diplomat he previously served as an Ambassador to Japan, and held other prominent positions in Foreign Affairs Ministry working in Brussels, London, and Pretoria.